One minute interview with Mike McFall, Co-CEO, Biggby Coffee



Mike McFall grew up in Highland and graduated from Milford High School in 1989. He earned a degree in business and economics from Kalamazoo College and began working in 1996 as a part-time barista at the first Biggby in the Lansing area.

McFall, 47, has written a just released book, “Grind: A No-Bull **** Approach to Take Your Business from Concept to Cash Flow,” relating what he has learned about business, succeeding in a competitive industry and life. He connected with The Spinal Column to chat about his Highland roots and the challenges of running Biggby Coffee with 239 locations in nine states and internationally.

What lessons learned in Highland did you carry forward into the business world?

“Growing up in Highland has given me a strong work ethic and practical approach to business. It’s that strong midwestern sensibility that has stuck with me and helped keep me grounded no matter how much the business has grown.”

What brought you to east Lansing and how did you become a barista?

“After graduating from Kalamazoo College, I was working as a barista and working on a research project for Michigan State University while getting ready to go to grad school. It was a part-time gig making coffee until I met Bob Fish and we sensed a great new business opportunity that changed our lives. We shared a vision for a special kind of coffee shop that exists to support people building lives they love. And the rest is history!”

Did those barista days get you hooked on caffeine? How many cups of coffee and Espresso do you consume each day?

“Absolutely! I love coffee and typically drink about 14 shots of espresso in a day. My favorite drink is an Americano.”

Why did you decide to write your book?

“Most of the business books I read are not inspiring because they do not capture the essence of what it is like to build a start-up company. They are mostly written by either ultra-successful executives with nine figure incomes and private jets or else by academics who are studying entrepreneurship. I wanted to write when I was still in the midst of the hustle, where I can share business stories that are fresh and real.”

What do you hope readers will take away from your thoughts and advice?

“Grind is not a get-rich-quick guide and it does not sugar-coat the level of dedication, personal due-diligence and consistent commitment needed to create a cash flow. The main thing I want entrepreneurs to take away is the importance of having focus in their approach to business.”

Describe typical day for the co-CEO of Biggby Coffee.

“Wake up at 4:45 a.m., make coffee. Read for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then dive into a project or two. During the school year I get the kids up at 7 a.m., get myself ready, have breakfast, take the kids to school, go to my first appointment and then it’s my work calendar (doing cool ****.) Get home around 5-5:30 p.m., and have a family dinner at 6 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m. I help my three-year son Oscar get ready for bed.”

Tell us about the name Biggby.

“The name ‘Biggby’ was chosen as it was the vocalization of the black and orange ‘big B’ logo that already existed. Biggby became a fun name, and the first store opened under the name Biggby Coffee on October 29, 2007, in Westland, Michigan. The name change was completed in all stores by January 31, 2008 — with Mike and partner Bob Fish shouldering the entire cost of the name change.”

Are you a huge hockey fan? Is your goal to someday own the Red Wings?

“Yes! My dream is to one day own the Detroit Red Wings. It’s a great goal to have and one that inspires me to get up every day and work hard to make it happen.”

We have read about training programs for employees on diversity following incidents in other coffee houses. Does Biggby offer such training?

“Diversity and inclusion is always top of mind as it relates to all things, both from a racial perspective, a sexuality perspective and we believe diversity is a strength. At the end of the day we have a purpose that states, ‘We Exist to Love People.’ Our ethos is built on inclusion and we only think that will to continue to grow and manifest into a powerful force in the world.”

Read the original article here.